The Securities and Exchange Commission today announced that a former audit partner at accounting and consulting firm BDO USA LLP has pled guilty to criminal charges for lying to SEC enforcement staff during investigative testimony.
Ronald C. Machen Jr., the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, filed the criminal charges against certified public accountant Bryan N. Polozola, who lives in Richardson, Texas.
According to the criminal information filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, the SEC issued subpoenas last year to BDO and Polozola, who was responsible for auditing several hedge funds managed by an investment adviser that the SEC is investigating. The criminal information states that the audit is a central issue in the SEC inquiry, and investigators took testimony from Polozola to obtain information about his role in the audit process and assess his credibility. Polozola was the subject of a 2005 NASD (now FINRA) proceeding alleging that he took $49,350 in funds from a former employer for his personal use. Polozola neither admitted nor denied NASD’s allegations in consenting to a bar from associating with any NASD firm.
The criminal information alleges that during questioning in September 2011, Polozola falsely testified to SEC staff that he was not aware of a $49,350 payment made on his behalf to his former employer. In fact, Polozola was aware that his attorney had repaid the $49,350 to the former employer as reimbursement of the funds he had allegedly taken for his personal use. The payment was made at Polozola’s direction and with Polozola’s funds.
“Truth in testimony is the first principle of a fair and effective enforcement program,” said Robert Khuzami, Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement. “This guilty plea is a stark reminder that those who lie in SEC investigations will face an SEC committed to working closely with the criminal authorities to ensure that they are held accountable.”
Polozola pled guilty to a one-count information charging him with making a false statement to government officials in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1001. The Honorable Robert L. Wilkins scheduled a sentencing hearing for March 26, 2012.
The SEC thanks the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia for its efforts in prosecuting the case.